Serum Amyloid A (SAA)
Serum Amyloid A (SAA)
Serum Amyloid A (SAA) is one of the principle Acute Phase Protein Assays supplied by Tridelta to customers in many fieds all over the world.
The Company offers a multispecies version of the test which has been found to be effective in detecting SAA in diverse species from domestic and farm animals and pets, through to exotic species such as manatees, camels, elephants and bears - and most others along the way.
One of the important species which SAA is particularly effective in testing for inflammation in is horses. Recently, Tridelta has been workign with a well know Irish racehorse trainer to test the levels of SAA found in high performance equine atheletes and to assess whethere SAA can be used as a measure of the animal's condition and levels of performance.
Over a long term study, significant data has been gathered and in practical terms, it has shown that SAA can be used as an effective measure of the animals condition and it has also been found to be a good indicator of potential perfomance: as vouched for by the trainer, Seamus Fahey, who relates his experiences in this section in the "SAA Experiences" and "Using SAA" sections.
First, some scientific background to the SAA molecule itself.
SAA Production and Response
SAA is a member of a group of proteins called Acute Phase Proteins which have been found in many animal species and which are thought to be part of the body’s basic first line defences against infection, disease or trauma. In response to a challenge by, for example an infective organism, the body sends chemical messengers to the liver which then produces and releases SAA into the bloodstream which helps to fight off the challenge. SAA is normally either not present at all or only in very low levels (depending on the species). In response to such a challenge however, the immune system of the animal is “switched on” and SAA is produced in very high levels – hundreds of times above the normal levels. If the horse is healthy with no activation of it’s immune system therefore, there is a very low level of detectable SAA in the animal’s bloodstream, if the horse has an active immune system which indicates that it’s body is dealing with some problem, which is often, as can be seen from Seamus Fahey’s practical experiences, not apparent to staff or even necessarily detectable by standard laboratory tests, then the SAA levels will rise in response to that and will remain so until the problem has been dealt with or resolved. This rise can take place within a matter of hours of the problem arising.
SAA can then be measured by the laboratory. In horses, SAA is normally at a level around zero, a challenge to the animals system which results in the immune system being “switched on” results in very rapidly raised levels which give an indication that all is not well with the horse.